Marine Le Pen, National Front (FN) political party leader, attends the party's convention in Lille, France, March 10, 2018. (REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol)
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Seeking renewal and a brand change after last year's bruising election defeats, France's National Front on Saturday opened its party conference where former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon was due to make a key address.The party is set to strip 89-year-old Jean-Marie Le Pen of his role as honorary president, severing his last formal link to the movement he led for nearly four decades.Since the presidential campaign and June general election in which the FN bagged only eight seats, the party and its leader have appeared deflated.One of the FN's two senators Claudine Kauffmann resigned, denouncing "nepotism" in the party in a letter to Le Pen made public Friday.But party members credit Marine Le Pen with massively expanding the party's support, doubling its score from 5.5 million votes in the 2002 presidential election to 10.6 million, or almost 34 percent, in 2017 .Le Pen is hoping for a rematch with Macron in next year's European elections, by forming alliances with other eurosceptic parties around the bloc.
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